First things first… you guys know about the Sabbath in the Suburbs website, yes? I post there a couple of times a week.
The Best Art Books of 2012 — Brain Pickings
I covet them all. Here’s a page from Alice in Wonderland:
The Fear of Women as Bishops — New Yorker
I went to see the great Oxford historian of Christianity (and former ordained deacon) Diarmaid MacCulloch, and asked him to explain the roots of such lingering hostility to the idea of women bishops. He laughed and called it a piece of theatre, confabulated by men still smarting from the fact that Christ chose two women to witness and announce the Resurrection.
I quoted him then, and I’ll do it again, now: “The historical ‘against-women’ argument about twelve male apostles—it comes from the early years of the Christian era and the spectacles put forth by the male leaders, who [had] wanted to be the ones to ‘see’ Christ first. By the end of the second century, a male leadership had emerged, and after that it became the men-were-what-the-Holy-Spirit-intended argument and then the tradition-of-the-church argument. It was specious. Slavery was also our ‘tradition’ for seventeen hundred years. If you want a doctrine of the Holy Spirit, you change.”
Most of Greenland’s top ice layer melted in four days this summer:
The event is uncommon, though not unprecedented. A similar event happened in 1889, and before that, several centuries earlier. There are indications, however, that the greatest amount of melting during the past 225 years has occurred in the last decade.
I’m sure everything will be just fine.
Gazing into the Abyss — Christian Wiman
Wiman is the editor of Poetry magazine. He has an incurable form of blood cancer. And he is my kind of Christian:
So now I bow my head and try to pray in the mornings, not because I don’t doubt the reality of what I have experienced, but because I do, and with an intensity that, because to once feel the presence of God is to feel His absence all the more acutely, is actually more anguishing and difficult than any “existential anxiety” I have ever known. I go to church on Sundays, not to dispel this doubt but to expend its energy, because faith is not a state of mind but an action in the world, a movement toward the world. How charged this one hour of the week is for me, and how I cherish it, though not one whit more than the hours I have with my wife, with friends, or in solitude, trying to learn how to inhabit time so completely that there might be no distinction between life and belief, attention and devotion.
Giving Thanks for a God That is Appreciative — Hesham A. Hassaballa, Patheos
A link from Thanksgiving week:
In Islamic tradition, it is believed that God has 99 names, or attributes, that describe God for the believer. These include the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, the Creator, the Sustainer, the Loving, the Shaper, the Maker, and many more…
in honor of Thanksgiving, I want to reflect over a particularly fascinating name for God: Al Shakur, or “The Appreciative.”
This is truly, truly amazing. The Lord God—Originator of the heavens and the earth, Creator of all that exists, Giver of Life, the Most Powerful of all things, the King of all kings—is al Shakur, or “the appreciative.”
Appreciative of what, however? What have I done, as a servant of God, so that He would be appreciative of me?
The “What’s That Thing” series is fun. See the thin wires in the picture?
Apparently it’s a Sabbath thing. More at the link…
Moneyball and the Future of the Church — David Lose
The third in a series relating aspects of the book/film with the tremendous upheaval that’s at work (and that’s needed) in the church:
One of my definitions of good leadership is the ability to take advantage of crises.
What do I mean by that? Simply that a good leader is always tending a vision of the future. A vision that is always a little larger than the present, always moving just a little beyond where we are now.
The challenge however, is that as a species we tend to put a very high value on homeostasis. We greatly prefer, that is, stability to change. And for good reason: stability promotes growth. But that means we are often far more reactive than proactive, changing only when we have to. And that makes advancing a positive vision of the future difficult, as we would often prefer to make due with a less-than-adequate – but known – present than a promising but unknown (and therefore risky) future.
Which is where crises come in. A crisis demands immediate action and provides the thoughtful and prepared leader with an excuse to make changes that he or she knew were necessary but couldn’t enact because they seemed too difficult for most to contemplate previously.
Incidentally, I used the clip he discusses in part 1 of his series in my workshop for the NEXT Church gathering in Dallas in February. You have to define the problem accurately in order to solve it.
And the obligatory Colossal post:
The Energy Generated from a Single Orange — Colossal
May you be alive to your world this weekend. Advent blessings.